Winter 2009 Open Day - Saturday, 30th May
If Alan Paton had set his novel Cry, the Beloved Country in Hout Bay, the opening lines may have read: “There is a road that runs from the cemetery toward Skoorsteenkop. The hill is craggy and green, and is lovely beyond any singing of it. From there, if there is no mist, you look down on one of the fairest valleys of the Western Cape.”
This hill, the home of Hout Bay Vineyards, will soon be ablaze with autumnal colours, a gratifying tribute to this year’s harvest. As the leaves begin to turn we are reminded of nature’s dazzling choreography and that to everything there is a season: a time to sow … a time to reap.
It was a good year, but also a peculiar one.
We began harvesting at the end of January, two weeks later than last year. The early cultivars were late in ripening while the ‘mediums’ were on time and some of the ‘lates’ were very late, as if absorbing the most from summer’s luxuriant sunshine. In fact, a number of our neighbours only harvested towards the end of March and well into April. Downy mildew seemed to be a common problem and some also appeared on our grapes: these were discarded, of course, as we use only those fit for consumption. It was our biggest harvest yet - a total of 8.55 tons of grapes, split into 3.5 tons for Cap Classique, 3.7 for the red varieties and the rest for Sauvignon Blanc. Early indications are that wine-lovers will enjoy the 2009 vintage.
The attendance at our open day in November of last year was overwhelming. It was truly uplifting to see so many new faces, first-time visitors to our cellar. With the registration of Hout Bay as a ‘ward’, interest in our wines has obviously spread, which is most rewarding. We like to think that six years of dedication on our part have also helped in this regard. Admittedly, as our skills improve with the passing seasons, grape-pressing hasbecome easier and the whole family, along with our staff, has become more adept in the wine-making process. As a result of last year’s phenomenal attendance, our 2006 bubbly and reds are both sold out, and stocks of rosé and Sauvignon Blancfrom 2008 are limited.
We also used last November’s open day to feature some of Paul du Toit’s work, an internationally-renowned Hout Bay artist. Side features of local artists and musicians are something we intend to continue promoting.
We recently sourced a certified clone of Pinot Meunier and will be planting 1000 vines of the clone this winter. Pinot Meunier is not commonly used in South Africa but it is the third magic ingredient of Champagne. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the only grapes generally used in the country. This will make our bubbly even more like the real stuff from France.
Our next open day will take place on
Saturday, 30th May from noon onwards when we will be launching our 2007 “Petrus” Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Bordeaux blend. As always, we look forward to welcoming you to our home, including your friends and their friends and extended families.
In our endeavour to promote local artists, we also invite you to a classical musical performance by kids from Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg which we have scheduled between 13h30 and 15h30. Check them out at “Hout Bay Music Project” or on their website: www.ikamvayouth.org.
We will also have a display by local artist Nel Luyendyk.